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Study: augmented reality has great potential in medicine

How can augmented reality assist surgeons in their work in the operating room? We answer this question with a study on "Augmented Reality in Medicine" which involved 19 medical experts who participated in an online survey. The key findings of the study reveal that augmented reality has not yet found its place in the daily workflow of medical environments. From the doctors' point of view, however, it has great potential to make their work safer and more efficient. The main concern the participants have is the cost factor and in how far additional costs are justified by added value.

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AR as a new technology

The study's findings disclose that about 42 per cent of the participants know little about the technology. Moreover, only about half of the participants have ever used augmented reality, in a medical context their share drops to as little as 30 per cent. This shows that augmented reality has hardly been used in medical environments up to now. It is therefore all the more important that augmented reality applications are user-friendly to ensure a smooth familiarization process.

Opportunities of AR

All participants agree that medicine needs new technologies and that augmented reality is a great opportunity for the medical industry: In operating rooms, it can assist the surgeons. In research and training, complex interventions can be simulated and practiced under realistic conditions. The participants consider the main benefits of augmented reality systems to be additional safety (14 out of 19 answers), more efficiency (11/19) as well as assistance and feedback in surgery (11/19).

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Making advantages visible

The participants are most concerned about the cost-benefit ratio. The added value of the technology in medicine has to be obvious to justify the extra costs. Data protection, too, is a topic that the causes concern among the participants, just as well as the compliance with hygiene standards.

HoloMed project

The study is part of the HoloMed research project in which UID develops an augmented reality application that assists neurosurgeons in ventricular punctions by providing them with virtual information, such as CT or MRT images, during operations. These images are perfectly positioned on the patient's body to assist the surgeon in localizing the ventricle in the brain, making surgery safer and more efficient.

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